Since it doesn’t look like I’ll be swirling authentic Italian pasta around my fork in Italy anytime soon, I’ve decided to make my own.

After trying out a couple of methods, I've discovered it's not that difficult, and I'm pretty sure just about anyone can make a very basic, very versatile pasta at home.

The method is rather simple. After measuring out your flour, make a well in the center and slowly incorporate eggs. Or you can mix the dough in a food processor, which is what I did. Then you just gradually roll the dough until it’s very thin. At this point, you can cut it into the shape you desire. For the Spinach and Pine Nuts Ravioli, leave the pasta in sheets.

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Homemade pasta cooks much faster than dried pasta. In a pot of boiling, salted water, it only takes about 3 to 5 minutes. Keep checking it in one-minute increments until the pasta is al dente (just tender).

Even though we’re between produce seasons, I can almost always find mushrooms and spinach at the farmers market, which I used in today's recipes. There is also plenty of local meat, cheese and cream to cook in pasta dishes.

Making your own pasta does take a little time, but its fresh flavor and tender noodles are so well worth it!

Basic Pasta

Makes about 1 pound. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

3 cups all-purpose bread flour

2 eggs

⅛ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon water or more

1. Pulse flour in food processor twice.

2. Add eggs and salt. Process again until the dough is crumbly.

3. Add 1 teaspoon of water while the processor is running.

4. The dough should form a ball. If still crumbly, add another teaspoon of water.

5. Place dough on a floured surface. Knead until smooth and pliable.

6. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes then cut into four sections.

7. Roll each section until thin and at least 2 feet long. Cut into strips or desired shape.

8) Allow pasta to dry up to 5 hours before cooking in boiling water for about 3-5 minutes. Serve in your favorite recipe.

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Spinach and Pine Nuts Ravioli

Makes 6-8 servings. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts

1 pound fresh spinach

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups ricotta cheese

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

2 sheets fresh pasta dough

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add pine nuts and toast for 4-5 minutes.

2. Add spinach and wilt about 3-5 minutes then add sugar, salt and pepper.

3. Drain and dry spinach completely.

4. In a food processor, pulse spinach and pine nuts mixture with ricotta until a fine paste forms.

5. Whisk together egg and water in a small bowl then brush over a sheet of pasta.

6. Drop teaspoons of spinach mixture on the dough about one inch apart.

7. Cover with second sheet of pasta, pressing out the air from around each portion of filling.

8. Cut around the fillings in circles or squares. Press the edges together with a fork.

9. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ravioli and boil uncovered until the ravioli float, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite sauce.

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Mushroom and Butter Cream Sauce

Makes 4 to 6 servings. Recipe is by Teresa B. Day.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1 shallot, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh oregano

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

¼ cup heavy cream

½ pound fresh pasta noodles

1. In a heavy skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium-high heat.

2. Add mushrooms and shallot and saute until tender, about 5-8 minutes.

3. Season with herbs, salt and pepper.

4. Add heavy cream and stir to coat the mushrooms.

5. Serve over freshly made pasta.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. Contact her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.